We’ll save you the usual litany / free association of artists Ryley Walker deftly channels and allow you to just…listen. You’re welcome. Produced by fellow Chicagoan LeRoy Bach, Walker’s third lp Golden Sings That Have Been Sung is out August 19th via the Dead Oceans label.

Ryley Walker :: The Halfwit In Me

Related: The Lagniappe Sessions: Ryley Walker covers Amen Dunes, Cass McCombs & more…


The songs on Steve Gunn’s seventh album and Matador Records debut Eyes on the Lines don’t move straight ahead. Instead, they loop, swirl, and curl. But they do have a sense of purpose, and the driving language Gunn sprinkles across the nine songs parallel how he and his band push forward. On the album, detours aren’t distractions. Often, they’re the point.

“I was thinking about the concept of being lost, welcoming a sense of the unknown,” Gunn says via his cell from the road. Musically, the reference points carry over from his last couple of excellent outings, like the sounds of mentors and collaborators Mike Cooper and Michael Chapman, blues from Chicago and Mali, and the Basement Tapes. But on this album, there’s a distinctly rock feel to the proceedings.

“When I’m coming up with stuff, we’re talking about rock & roll songs,” Gunn says. “Mostly the Velvets, Stones, and Dylan, to cite three.”

Lyrically, Eyes on the Lines is devoted to the unexpected, celebrating deviations from the path, dwelling on moonlit wanderings, strange dreams, and observing the thrill that comes from finding oneself truly lost, the ultimate acknowledgment of the unknown.

On “Conditions Wild,” Gunn lyrically paraphrases from author Rebecca Solnit’s book A Field Guid to Getting Lost. “It’s a field guide from the other side, beyond the path you know,” he sings, his husky Philly baritone rolling over organ and a steady backbeat. “Feel the path and move along the traces where you’ll go.”

“It’s really an interesting book,” Gunn says of Solnit’s 2005 collection of personal and historical reflections, which helped order his thoughts about the concept of “losing oneself.” “Being a creative person, you have to kind of trust this other aspect of your life, which is something you can’t explain or predict. You can’t have preconceived notions.”


Composer Rob Mazurek is no stranger to high concepts: His Exploding Star Orchestra has plotted albums around the cycle of galactic death and rebirth; Return the Tides: Ascension Suite and Holy Ghost was centered around the idea of energy transference, inspired by his mother’s passing; Alternate Moon Cycles was a patient drone constructed in alignment with lunar luminosity. So, the science fiction ambition of his new LP Alien Flower Sutra isn’t unusual in the context of Mazurek’s discography, but in vocalist Emmett Kelly of the Cairo Gang, he’s found a powerful storytelling ally.

Rob Mazurek & Emmett Kelly :: Of Time Wasted

Originally conceived as an opera, Alien Flower Sutra tells the story of “a cybernetic organism struggling to reconcile the human buried inside their computer-regulated psyche.” Kelly provides vocals and first-person lyrics on the album, his skeletal melodies and guitar work wrapped in noisy soundscapes and washes of modular synthesizer by Mazurek.

The resulting album features a haunting, moving saga, Kelly’s words stretched over songs like “”I Untied My Wrists,” “Embryo Genesis,” and finally “We Are One.” Mazurek brings violent, chaotic charge to the songs, but Kelly’s words continually pull the listener back in to his character’s grief at the sight of bombs, bodies running toward water, and the uneasy tension between machine and man. “We all can become anyone/under cross electric fire/in the prison, we are one/a good companion in the steel,” he sings.

The sounds move quickly between heavy drones, minimalist loops, and ambient folk, always accentuating the emotional tenor of the subject matter. “The spaces inside me, cavernous ricochets,” Kelly sings, the music matching his illustrative language, rife with longing and electric wires.

The album ends with “Overture Towards the Beginning of the End of Time,” its blown-out melodies offering a kind of scorched triumph. Kelly doesn’t sing here, perhaps suggesting the occurrence of singularity between flesh and circuitry, or perhaps implying the unit’s creased operation. It’s beautiful, compelling speculative fiction in the vein of William Gibson’s cyberpunk tales or Leiji Matsumoto’s romantic Galaxy Express 999. words / j woodbury


Happy 75th to a poet, a rock ‘n roll icon, a folk sensation, and a living legend. Stop and take a moment to fathom that number; 75 years. Bob Dylan has spent 54 of those on earth as a recording artist. He was at the forefront of the NYC folk scene, marched on Washington for civil rights, defected from the folkies into an electrified cultural icon who influenced just about every style of music imaginable, and is still out there, doing his thing. Sure, he’s released a few clunkers along the way, but all it takes is a release such as the outrageously captivating Time Out Of Mind or the subtle, beautiful comfort of last year’s Shadows In The Night to demonstrate Dylan’s undeniable/unshakable genius.

During the heady period of 1965-66, Dylan bottled lightning in the studio by reinventing and rearranging the songs that comprise one of the greatest three album runs in the history of music (Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde On Blonde). But he also made changes on two of those albums after they were initially pressed. There are more than a handful of different mixes available via different pressings of Blonde On Blonde, and it can be confusing working out what’s what. However, we’ll keep it simple, and post this rarity. Only the initial (stereo only) pressings of Highway 61 Revisited feature an alternate take of the rollicking “From A Buick 6” that has a harmonica intro – one that is completely absent on all other official releases. Want a copy of your own? Memorize the matrix numbers of the first press, and look out for the word ‘unbreakable’ on the label. words / d see

Related: Aquarium Drunkard – The Collected Bob Dylan Archives

Klaus Johann Grobe

Krautpop. Speaking of Trouble In Mind Records, earlier this month the Chicago label released Spagat der Liebe, the Zürich based Klaus Johann Grobe’s second LP. Comprised of Sevi Landolt (organ/synths/vocals) and Daniel Bachmann (drums/vocals), the pair continue down the path set out on their initial self-produced singles and 2014’s Im Sinne der Zeit – a groove laden Autobahn equally rooted in their German krautrock forebears, ’90s Stereolab explorations and lo-fi jazz/funk.

Klaus Johann Grobe :: Ein Guter Tag


Los Angeles-based label Leaving Records been been responsible for releasing some of 2016’s most blissful sound explorations, like Matthewdavid’s Trust the Guide and Glide and Carlos Niño & Friends’ Flutes, Echoes, It’s All Happening (the latter pairing the Spaceways Radio deejay with saxophonist Kamasi Washington, legendary beatmaker Madlib, cosmic channel Iasos, and the Aztec-evoking avant-garde composer Luis Pérez Ixoneztli).

For its latest New Age entry, Leaving is going back to the early 1980s, with Dream Music by SunPath, the recording name of one Jeff Berry. Collecting material from 1980’s Yasimin and the Snowflake Dragon and 1984’s SunPath 2, the sounds here are deeply melodic and zone deeply inward, featuring Berry on Prophet synthesizer, incorporating natural sounds — streams recorded in the open and in caves, storms — and augmented by the inclusion of homemade flutes, drums, and stringed instruments.

The tape is out now. We spoke with Berry about his sound and approaching the “magic of the multiverse.”


Beth Orton has spent 20-some years walking the margins between folk rock and electronic music. Before her 1996 classic Trailer Park, she recorded an entirely electronic debut, SuperpinkyMandy, but even then, she covered cosmic balladeer John Martyn’s “Don’t Want to Know About Evil.” In Orton’s hands, the lines between the genres have always been smudged — she’s collaborated with everyone from Terry Callier to William Orbit to Ben Watt — but with her new album, Kidsticks, Orton makes a decisive statement.

“…I would go as far as to say this resolutely is not a folk record,” Orton says via the phone from her home in Los Angeles, her accent making plain her English roots.

She has a point. Kidsticks has more in common with Stereolab or Four Tet than the gentle folk of 2006’s Jim O’Rourke-produced Comfort of Strangers or Sugaring Season, the album that followed it six years later. Built on loops engineered by Orton and Andrew Hung of Fuck Buttons, the new album is vivid and neon-colored. “Wave” rides a funky, shimmering pulse; “Flesh and Blood” bursts with interlocked melodies; “Petals” rises and falls with tremendous swells of synthesized bass. Orton’s hardly abandoned her lyrical focus. These songs, concerning the passage of time and exploring concepts of identity, feature some of her best lyrical work, not obscured, but enhanced, by the dense sounds that flutter around it. “There’s starlight burning in our hearts tonight,” Orton sings on the slow motion ballad “Dawnstar,” a line which encapsulates the vividness of her prose on the record.

Orton spoke with AD about building the album’s framework from rhythm loops, the influence of shuffle mode, and why this feels like the album she’s been waiting to make for a long time.

Aquarium Drunkard: You start off “Snow” singing, “I’ll astrally project myself into the life of someone else.” That’s one of my favorite metaphors for the act of releasing music. When you put out a record, that’s what you’re doing: releasing your voice and experiences into the lives of people listening. Where did that lyric come from?

Beth Orton: That’s a lovely way of interpreting it. I like that way of interpreting better than any. I don’t know, I was just playing with that idea. The themes that come up a lot on this record deal with time: a sense of time travel, a sense of shifting time, of time not being quite real.

AD: A shared illusion, at least.

Beth Orton: We sort of slip between time without really realizing it. We’re always traveling through time, our daily space is constantly between dreams. I play around with identity a lot on the record, and I just love the idea of astral projection. What the fuck does it actually mean, you know? Time travel — that’s definitely a theme of the record.

I’ve been waiting nearly a year for this record to come out – Omni’s debut lp, Deluxe. – and this track, “Wire”, was my initial introduction. Clocking in at just over three minutes, the track neatly encapsulates the best of late 70s / early 80s jittery post-punk, all without muddying the waters with unnecessary pastiche. Omni, like its namesake, hail from Atlanta and are comprised of former members of Carnivores/Deerhunter.

The album drops July 8th, via Trouble In Mind Records. And, by the way — it was worth the wait.

Carsten-MeinertOur weekly two hour show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35, can be heard twice every Friday – Noon EST with an encore broadcast at Midnight EST.

SIRIUS 434: Jean-Michel Bernard – Générique Stéphane ++ Jean Jacques Dexter – Be Quite ++ Stomu Yamash’ta’s Red Buddha Theatre – Awa Odori ++ Faust – It’s A Bit Of A Pain ++ Bohannon – Save Their Souls ++ Lennie Hibbert – Rose Len ++ Gandalf – Nature Boy ++ Funkadelic – Music For My Mother ++ Nina Simone – Be My Husband ++ Carsten Meinert Kvartet – One For Alice ++ Can – Mother Sky ++ Curtis Knight (w/ Jimi Hendrix) – Happy Birthday ++ Jimmy Stone – Family Affair ++ Alan Hawkshaw – Ski Bird ++ These Trails – Garden Botanum ++ Henri Texier – Les “là-bas” ++ Joni Mitchell – Jungle Line ++ John Carpenter – Main Title ++ Woods – Sun City Creeps ++ Headhunters – Mugic ++ Third Wave – Eleanor Rigby ++ Norma Tanega – You’re Dead ++ Blossom Dearie – That’s Just The Way I Want To Be ++ King Crimson – Peace (An End) ++ Pink Floyd – San Tropez ++ Lightmyth – Across The Universe ++ Takuro Yoshida – I Live On ++ The Beach Boys – Passing By ++ The Limiñanas – 3 Migas 2000 ++ Bob Azzam & His Orchestra – The Last Time ++ The Clique – Pretty Thing (demo) ++ Paul McCartney – Momma Miss America ++ John Martyn – Solid Air ++ The Rolling Stones – Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind

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